Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

DNA synthesis and biological security

A group of academics, industry executives and security experts propose an oversight framework to address concerns over the security of research involving commercial DNA synthesis.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Our framework calls for the immediate and systematic implementation of a tiered DNA synthesis order screening process.

References

  1. 1

    Baker, D. et al. Sci. Am. 294, 44–51 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Endy, D. et al. A Practical Perspective on DNA Synthesis and Biological Security, published online 4 December 2006 <http://pgen.us/PPDSS.htm>

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Church, G. A Synthetic Biohazard Non-proliferation Proposal, published online 18 June 2004; updated 21 May 2005 <http://arep.med.harvard.edu/SBP/Church_Biohazard04c.htm>

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Public Draft of the Declaration of the Second International Meeting on Synthetic Biology, published online 30 May 2006 <http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/32982>

  5. 5

    Etc. Group. Extreme Genetic Engineering: An Introduction to Synthetic Biology, published online January 2007 <http://www.etcgroup.org/upload/publication/602/01/synbioreportweb.pdf>

  6. 6

    Check, E. Nature 436, 894–895 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    <http://polysynth.info/>

  8. 8

    Cohen, S.N., Chang, A.C., Boyer, H.W. & Helling, R.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 70, 3240–3244 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Gefter, M.L., Molineux, I.J., Kornberg, T. & Khorana, H.G. J. Biol. Chem. 247, 3321–3326 (1972).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Mullis, K. et al. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 51, 263–273 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Berg, P., Baltimore, D., Brenner, S., Roblin, R.O. & Singer, M.F. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 72, 1981–1984 (1975).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Carlson, R. Biosecur. Bioterror. 1, 203–214 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Carlson, R. & Church, G.M. Wired 13, 12–16 (2005).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    18 U.S.C. § 2332a

  15. 15

    Baric, R.S. et al. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 581, 553–560 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The article expresses the opinions of the individual authors and does not necessarily reflect US government policy. We thank colleagues serving on the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, other government agencies and the organizers and participants in a project supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for sharing information and perspectives that directly inform our Commentary.

Author information

Authors

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

H.B., R.W., GENEART; J.P.D., G.C., D.E., Codon Devices; J.M., Blue Heron Biotechnologies; R.M., D.R., CODA Genomics; H.-O. P., Bioneer; B.R., BaseClear.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bügl, H., Danner, J., Molinari, R. et al. DNA synthesis and biological security. Nat Biotechnol 25, 627–629 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0607-627

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing